By Jonathan Smith
Featuring one of the more attractive covers I’ve seen so far this year, BXI is a collaborative EP featuring prodigal Japanese band Boris and Ian Astbury (The Cult, The Doors). Since hearing about its upcoming release, I’ve wondered what kind of compilation Astbury and a band whose output has been as diverse as Boris’ has been would produce. Well, now I have an answer: such an effort is short and sweet, which is a problem when only half of it is really good.
Boris’ more drone-based side is absent here, with the band opting instead for a straight- forward rock style. This is disappointing given that the strength of Ian Astbury’s voice mixed with Boris’ more experimental side should generate many interesting possibilities. Instead, the first two tracks are rockers that get boring after the first few listens. While opener “Teeth and Claws” isn’t bad, offering little hints here and there (some interesting melody, a slightly disorientating child voiceover) of potential strangeness, “We Are Witches” sounds a lot like a standard rock and roll song without legs. The second half of BXI is much stronger and worthy of being a terrific single release. The combo of a cover of The Cult’s “Rain,” featuring singing by Boris vocalist/guitarist Wata, and the much mellower, Astbury-fronted “Magickal Child,” almost makes up for the blandness of the first two cuts. These latter tracks are well worth a listen, and hopefully will serve as a model for likely future collaborations.